Director and Actor André Gregory on his Passion for Drawing

For the Master Builder co-star, drawing is a form of meditation.

André Gregory in André Gregory: Before and After Dinner
Courtesy of Cinema Guild.

Currently the director, actor, and producer André Gregory appears in Jonathan Demme’s film A Master Builder. The film ian adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s 1892 play The Master Builder (and Gregory serves as a producer on the film).

What many people don’t know is that Gregory draws, and a few of his drawings are on view in a group show at Jason McCoy Gallery through August 15. artnet News caught up with Gregory via email to find out why he loves drawing.

What do you like about drawing?
As I am a theater director and actor and have been following that art form for 50 years, it’s very exciting for me to give myself so fully six years now (with two different teachers) to drawing—an art form which I don’t know; to challenge myself and my brain and my hands to go places they have never known before, and to be doing it purely for the love of doing it. In other words, I am breaking barriers never faced before and living and working in the unknown. At 80 years old, that is a great thing to be doing.

Also, to mount a production or a film, one has to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, find actors and space and designers; while with drawing all I need is a trip to Dick Blick and I’m ready for work.

And, finally, I am not working for critics or an audience. I am working entirely for my own pleasure, expression, and gratification.

As Henry Miller titled his [essay-turned-] book about his painting, “to paint is to love again.” [Philip] Guston said he needed to look at, say, a fire hydrant as if he were a martian who had no idea what it was, had never seen one before.

And it keeps me awake.

It is also the loveliest and easiest form of meditation I have found; hours can go by without a single thought as I look and make a mark, look and make a mark, look and make a mark.

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Photo: Via liveacutioneers.com

If you could own any work of modern or contemporary art, what would it be?
Braque’s painting of a billiard table; almost any Matisse.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
I am writing a memoir and preparing to direct yet another Wallace Shawn play.

How do you choose your subject matter?
Any object with which I fall in love or which strongly wants me to draw it.

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André Gregory, Mirror (2012). Charcoal on paper.
Photo: Courtesy of Jason McCoy Gallery.

“Domesticity” continues at Jason McCoy Gallery through Friday, August 15. 


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